Creamy Parmesan Chicken and Rice Soup
Chicken soups are among my favorite comfort food recipes.
There are an infinite number of scrumptious versions, with noodles and tortillas and tortellini and dumplings… And SO MANY different varieties to enjoy. Whatever mood you are in, or taste you are craving, there’s a chicken soup for you.
Loaded with a classic combination of onions, celery, and carrots, and including hearty rice, chicken and rice soups are particularly comforting dishes any time of year. They are a complete meal in a bowl, and often incredibly easy to make!
Our take on a traditional chicken and rice soup is this Creamy Parmesan Chicken and Rice Soup recipe that has a wonderfully satisfying texture and robust flavor.
(Healthy) Creamy Parmesan Chicken and Rice Soup
Many creamy chicken and rice soups call for heavy cream or artificial cream-of-something fillers. But our healthier, and in my opinion, far more delicious version uses simple parmesan cheese and “secret ingredient” cornstarch to get that perfectly rich soup we all love.
This gluten-free recipe manages to achieve that dreamy, savory soup that you want but with an extra kick of slightly salty and cheesy flavor from the parmesan.
What Ingredients You Need
You’ll love the classic flavors of our Creamy Parmesan Chicken and Rice Soup, made lighter but still incredibly rich by swapping traditional heavy cream with parmesan cheese and cornstarch.
Plus, did I mention that all of the ingredients are gluten-free?!
Here’s what you need:
- Butter – preferably unsalted
- Sweet onion – peeled and chopped
- Carrots – chopped
- Celery – chopped
- Garlic – minced
- Fresh thyme leaves – or substitute with 1 tsp dried thyme
- Bay leaf
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs – or breasts
- Chicken broth – or water + 10 tsp chicken bouillon
- Dried long-grain rice
- Parmesan cheese – grated
- Parsley – chopped
- Salt and pepper
How to Make Creamy Parmesan Chicken and Rice Soup
All of the ingredients for this soup are easily cooked together in just one heavy soup pot. And you don’t even need to cut up the chicken or cook the rice beforehand!
1. First, place a large 6-8 quart pot over medium heat. Add the butter and melt. Then add in the chopped onions, carrots, celery, and minced garlic. Sauté for a few minutes to soften.
2. Add in the fresh or dried thyme, bay leaf, whole chicken thighs, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and stir in the dried rice.
3. Cover and reduce the heat, and simmer for several minutes. Use tongs to remove the chicken thighs to a large bowl or cutting board, and using two forks carefully shred the cooked chicken into bite-size pieces.
Continue to gently simmer the soup uncovered while you shred the chicken.
4. Next, in a small bowl mix together the grated parmesan cheese with the cornstarch. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue stirring as you add the parmesan and cornstarch mixture into the soup.
Simmer and stir for another few minutes until the soup is thick and creamy.
5. Give the soup a taste and salt and pepper as needed. Lastly, remove the bay leaf and stir in the fresh parsley before serving warm.
My family loves to enjoy this creamy Parmesan Chicken and Rice Soup with crusty bread, like our Easy Garlic Bread recipe, and a fresh salad for a completely satisfying meal.
Get the Complete (Printable) Creamy Parmesan Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe Below. Enjoy!
Want to Make An Even Healthier Version?
If you want a lighter classic chicken and rice soup, just skip the parmesan cheese and cornstarch. It won’t be as creamy, but the soup will still have great texture and flavor thanks to the rice and veggies.
You can even swap the butter with olive oil, for a dairy-free version.
Can This Creamy Parmesan Chicken and Rice Soup Be Made Ahead?
Soups with starchy ingredients (like pasta or rice) do make good leftovers if stored in the fridge and eaten within the next 24-48 hours.
However, the rice will continue to absorb the broth and make the mixture more of a thick stew rather than a creamy soup. You can add additional broth to loosen the soup when rewarming.
Because of this thickening action, I do not recommending freezing chicken and rice soup.
Looking for More Savory Soup Recipes?
- The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
- Healthy Italian Wedding Soup
- Buffalo Cauliflower Soup Recipe
- Sausage and Kale Soup
- Tomato Potato White Bean Soup
- Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Creamy Parmesan Chicken and Rice Soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pound boneless chicken thighs, or breasts
- 10 cups chicken broth, or water + 10 tsp chicken bouillon
- 1 cup dried long-grain rice
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- salt and pepper
- Place a large 6-8 quart pot over medium heat. Add the butter. Once melted add in the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, stirring to soften.
- Add in the thyme, bay leaf, chicken thighs, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir in the dried rice.
- Cover and simmer for 12 minutes. Then use tongs to remove the chicken thighs. Use two forks to shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Continue to simmer the soup uncovered, while you shred the chicken.
- Mix the grated parmesan cheese with the cornstarch. Stir the chicken back into the soup. Continue stirring as you add the parmesan mixture into the soup. Simmer another 2-4 minutes to thicken the soup base.
- Taste. Then salt and pepper as needed. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the fresh parsley. Serve warm.
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